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The Assessor's Dilemma: Improving Bug Repair via Empirical Game Theory

Gavidia-Calderon, C; Sarro, F; Harman, M; Barr, ET; (2019) The Assessor's Dilemma: Improving Bug Repair via Empirical Game Theory. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 10.1109/tse.2019.2944608. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Priority inflation occurs when a QA engineer or a project manager requesting a feature inflates the priority of their task so that developers deliver the fix or the new functionality faster. We survey developers and show that priority inflation occurs and misallocates developer time. We are the first to apply empirical game-theoretic analysis (EGTA) to a software engineering problem, specifically priority inflation. First, we extract prioritization strategies from 42,620 issues from Apache's JIRA, then use TaskAssessor, our EGTA-based modelling approach, to confirm conventional wisdom and show that the common process of a QA engineer assigning priority labels is susceptible to priority inflation. We then show that the common mitigation strategy of having a bug triage team assigning priorities does not resolve priority inflation and slows development. We then use mechanism design to devise assessor-throttling, a new, lightweight prioritization process, immune to priority inflation. We show that assessor-throttling resolves 97% of high priority tasks, 69% better than simply relying on those filing tasks to assign their priorities. Finally, we present TheFed, a browser extension for Chrome that supports assessor-throttling.

Type: Article
Title: The Assessor's Dilemma: Improving Bug Repair via Empirical Game Theory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/tse.2019.2944608
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/tse.2019.2944608
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Software Process, Game Theory, Bug Report, Priority Inflation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084763
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